According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 2.5 million catastrophic brain injuries occur each year. In 2014, 1,565 Virginians died because of traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), and Virginia hospitals discharged 5,172 individuals following TBIs in that same year.
Each individual’s experience with TBI is unique, but nearly everyone who suffers such an injury faces daunting challenges. The effects of a traumatic brain injury may be long-lasting or even permanent. TBI is different from many other injuries because it involves a brain dysfunction that results from an external force to the head, such as a bump, blow, or jolt. Nationwide, traumatic brain injuries account for about 30 percent of all injury deaths. Studies have shown a large increase in traumatic brain injuries (concussions topping the list) in children age 19 and younger, due primarily to sports and recreational activities. The risk of TBI is also high for those age 75 and older, but this type of injury can happen to anyone, at any age. In Virginia, the highest rate of traumatic brain injury hospitalization and death occur among those age 65 and older.
Here at Emroch & Kilduff, we understand the challenges of living with a traumatic brain injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, call us at (888) 358-1568. Our experienced lawyers will evaluate your case and your legal options.
Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
People sustain injuries in all different ways. A shake, strike, or jolt may cause your brain to bang against the inside of your skull. Alternatively, you may be struck by a bullet or other object that penetrates the brain. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of traumatic brain injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most common causes of TBI include:
- Car accidents
- Truck collisions
- Motorcycle accidents
- Sports injuries
- Construction site injuries
- Pedestrian hit-and-runs
- Recreational vehicle accidents
- Commercial vehicle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Tractor trailer accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Watercraft collisions
- Physical violence
- Product negligence
- Slip and fall accidents
Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
The effects of a traumatic brain injury vary widely and depend on the severity of the injury. The injured individual may experience confusion or lose consciousness. He or she may also suffer some degree of memory loss. In some cases, the injured person may remain in an extended coma or a permanent vegetative state. Sometimes, an individual may not even be aware that he or she has sustained a brain injury, because there will not be any obvious or visible signs. Infants and young children with brain injuries may be unable to explain their symptoms, so it is especially important for their parents to note any changes in behavior or habits. Symptoms of TBI may show up immediately or may not appear until long after the injury, which is why it’s important to always seek medical attention after an incident.
Head trauma can lead to several types of injuries, including:
A concussion occurs when the brain strikes the skull or is whipped back and forth inside the skull. Symptoms of a concussion are usually temporary, but repeated concussions may cause permanent damage. In recent years, doctors have begun to note the negative effects of repeated concussions caused by sports injuries.
A hematoma is a blood clot outside of the blood vessels. Blood that collects inside your skull is known as a subdural hematoma. It can be very dangerous and may even lead to permanent brain damage.
A hemorrhage is uncontrolled bleeding either around or within your brain; this condition is life-threatening.
Many brain injuries cause edema, or swelling. Swelling in the brain becomes serious when your skull is unable to contain the swelling. The result is pressure buildup in your brain, which then presses against your skull and can cause serious damage.
A skull fracture is a break in the cranial bone (the skull). The skull is difficult to break, but a strong impact or blow to the head can do it. Because the fractured skull is not able to absorb a blow to the head, there may be a brain injury along with the fracture. Bruising in the face or bleeding from the nose or ears may indicate a skull fracture.
Diffuse axonal injury
This type of injury involves brain lesions in multiple areas of the brain, which renders the brain cells unable to function. It is very dangerous and may cause permanent brain damage and even death.
Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
The most common symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:
- Vertigo and loss of balance
- Unusual sleep patterns
- Frequent head or neck pain
- Sensitivity to light
- Vision and hearing problems
- Cognitive difficulty (trouble speaking, remembering, or making decisions)
- Exhaustion or lack of energy and motivation
- Unexplained mood changes
- General confusion
Because each traumatic brain injury is unique, treatment is complex. Rehabilitation after a brain injury usually takes a long time, often years. Treatment options include:
- Learning strategies to deal with health, cognitive, and behavioral problems related to TBI
- Rehabilitation therapies—such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy
- Assistive devices and technologies
Next Steps After Suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries can happen to anyone, at any age. The effects of TBI may be temporary or permanent. If you’ve sustained a TBI, even if you think your injuries are minor, it is essential to seek prompt medical treatment. Proper diagnosis and treatment can significantly reduce the likelihood of permanent injury. Traumatic brain injury cases are complex, and the future is difficult to predict. If you have been injured, damages may include:
- All medical costs—including for hospital care, ambulance services, surgeries, and follow-up care
- Cost of medication
- Property damage
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost income and loss of future earnings
- Pain and suffering
Contact Emroch & Kilduff for Help if Someone’s Negligence Caused a TBI
Virginia’s statute of limitations governs how long an injured individual has to file a personal injury lawsuit that stems from a TBI. Therefore, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced Petersburg, Virginia, personal injury attorney immediately.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you need to speak with an attorney regarding your legal options. Our experienced, dedicated attorneys will investigate your claim and strive to secure compensation for the full cost of your injuries. For further information or to schedule your free consultation, call Emroch & Kilduff at (804) 358-1568, or contact us online.